by Sasha Uzunov
Friday 17 August 2018
I was at today’s formal ceremony held at the Ministry of Defence to mark Macedonian Army Day which falls on 18 August every year.
The 18 August was chosen because on that day in 1943 the Mirce Acev partizan battalion was formed and became the nucleus of the National Liberation Army of Macedonia (NOV na Makedonija) before being subsumed by the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) by 1945.
The National Liberation Army of Macedonia fought the Nazi German occupiers and its fellow fascist allies the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the quisling Albanian nationalist militia, the Balli Kombetar.
Yet, in the same breath that Macedonian Army Day is commemorated, and is based on the anti fascist resistance during World War II, since the 2001 ethnic Albanian war in Macedonia and the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) which brought the conflict to an end, WWII Albanian Nazi collaborator statues have popped up in Macedonia either directly built or at least supported by Ali Ahmeti, the ex Albanian terrorist and leader of the 2001 war and now “mainstream” politician.
In 2006 a statue to Xhem Hasa, the leader of the Balli Kombetar in Macedonia during WWII, was unveiled in Simnica, a village near the town of Gostivar in western Macedonia. In 2015, another Albanian Nazi collaborator statue and Balli Kombetar leader, Aqif Krosi Recani, was erected in another village close to Gostivar called Recani. The architect behind these two statues is ethnic Albanian politician Nevzat Bejta, who was given a front row “reserved” seat to hear ex US diplomat Evelyn N. Farkas sing the “praises” of the OFA recently. see link here
There has been a deliberate silence over these statues - they remain the elephant in the room that everyone, including the US and leading Macedonian politicians from the major parties know exist but act as if they don’t.
Earlier this week, TEAM UZUNOV asked the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev over those controversial statues and instead was witness to a bizarre, and contrived act of “historical amnesia” over the Albanian Nazi statues on the part of the Prime Minister. In comparison, Nazi statues are banned in Germany, which is both a NATO and EU member.
THE INCREDIBLE IRONY & INCONSISTENCY ! Weasel words?
Macedonia’s Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska used Macedonian Army Day as a platform to attack name change opponents as engaging in spreading false news - this despite at the start of the week (see above) her own Prime Minister Zoran Zaev playing deliberate historical “amnesia” over WWII Albanian Nazi statues in Macedonia.
The Zaev government and President Ivanov (pictured below) are at loggerheads - to put it mildly - over Macedonia’s NATO and EU membership bid. This was evident at Macedonian Army Day - both Defence Minister Sekerinska and the President rarely exchanging small talk other than keeping it very formal and very polite.
Both the government and the President support both NATO and EU membership and Ivanov reiterated that support at the Macedonian Army Day celebration. He just doesn’t accept that Macedonia has to change its name, its identity because of the controversial Prespa Agreement with Greece, signed by the Zaev government. see link on Prespa Agreement. He has been the target of a nasty racist campaign by the likes of pro NATO Serb journalist in Macedonia Borjan Jovanovski. see link here
Above: Macedonian Army Day celebration - US Embassy in Macedonia Deputy Chief of Mission Ms Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm (left) talks with Macedonia President George Ivanov (right). Macedonia’s Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska in the background - playing with her hair and casting a look over at the President. Video still (freeze frame) photo by Sasha Uzunov.
Below: Macedonian Army Day celebration - US Embassy in Macedonia Deputy Chief of Mission Ms Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm (left) lays on the diplomatic charm as Macedonia President George Ivanov (right) about to crack open a smile. Macedonia’s Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski in the background. Video still (freeze frame) photo by Sasha Uzunov.